Diet Dark Souls
There is definitely no mistaking the similarity between Lords of the Fallen and the Demons/Dark Souls games, it’s very much a take on that innovative and challenging Souls style gameplay which has made many a gamer want to break their controller in frustration. But, in a good way.
Lords of the Fallen is a very difficult game to review, because for everything it does right, there is something extremely important it does wrong. Let’s start with the most simple, cosmetics. Playing through this game on Xbox One, it looks like someone smeared Vaseline over the screen…this game is blurry. Like, you can tell there is a good looking game underneath the haze, but it never seems to lift…I know Lords of the Fallen is also on PC, but the graphics boost there seems to come with a price that’s also prevalent on the consoles; bugs and crashes.
On my first playthrough I experienced a random freeze screen game crash that I had to reload on. No big deal, sometimes that happens…later on, I was battling a boss and we killed each other at the same time, this caused me to restart at my checkpoint (which I expected) but when I got back to the boss, it was still dead…but had it’s life bar back. After hacking away at its lifeless corpse and taking down it’s life bar to zero again, nothing happened…and when I reset, it started me at that same checkpoint and the same process started. It got stuck in a bug loop and I lost a whole game and had to start all over again. This is completely unacceptable. However, the strengths of this game are so credible that it was more than enough for me to start my game all over again without any hesitation.
Now, dark, muddy visuals and debilitating crashes are certainly noteworthy problems, but the things this game does get right, are wonderful. Demons/Dark Souls are amazingly difficult games and Lords of the Fallen provides a hefty challenge as well, but it also offers something to alleviate the frustration and offer a nice balance that the Souls games don’t…random loot drops. Lords of the Fallen has a GREAT loot system and it’s exactly what I think has been missing from the Souls game since their debut. Finally a comprehensible system of weaponry makes its way to this style of game. It’s fantastic. Do I want to go light armor and be more quick with my attacks? Or do I go full on tank and sacrifice that mobility for serious damage? I love this aspect of the game so much and this freedom of customization makes it an incredibly rewarding experience. I also really love the weight that you can actually feel on your character when you’re a bulked up tank versus the lightness and speed you have as say a rogue. This requires strategy when timing your attacks in combat an absolute must.
Lords of the Fallen also provides an incredibly eery atmosphere, this is due to the excellent level design and the sparse, (but well used) haunting soundtrack. Sometimes less is more, and just like with the Souls games, Lords opts for a less obtrusive presentation and instead lets the dreariness of the setting draw you in and keep you on edge.
I can’t help but feel like Lords of the Fallen is a game that wasn’t quite finished when it was released…that the developers were so stressed out about making their deadline, that they never got the chance to fix some really glaring omissions. It’s so finely polished in some aspects and cripplingly broken in others. I genuinely hope that over the next few weeks, developer Deck13 Interactive takes the time to address the (seemingly universal) criticisms that lie with the game over a few patches. As it stands, Lords of the Fallen should be a really great game, but due to some serious fundamental problems that can’t be overlooked, it is instead a frustratingly good one.
PROS: Loot system, soundtrack, Demons/Dark Souls inspired gameplay with more of an emphasis on combat
CONS: Blurry visuals, bugs, game crashes
-Sock Talk Jon-